I love making things. I’m not much of a drawer, but I love the interplay of brilliant colors interacting against a deep black background. When I discovered Amish quilts in about 1981 I embarked on a short career of making heavily hand-quilted works of solid color fabrics, always with a black background. After a few years of that, I became a teacher and quit quilting. My creativity needs were sort of satisfied by my work, and it took all of my quilting time.
After a few years, I began to feel the itch for intense bursts of color again and I began making mandalas with Prismacolor pencils on Artagain black artists paper. They were kind of a meditative thing, and for while I carried around my colored pencils and little squares of black paper. I’d stick those little guys in my journal. Each year my students made mandalas as part of a career project. I’d buy them nice paper and they poured their hearts into making them. Interestingly, most of them left their work with me when they graduated, so I suppose it meant more to me than it did to them. I still have them all, and no one has ever asked for them back, or even to see them again. I hardly ever do anything like this any more.
It seems like before I had a computer, and before there was Facebook, I did a lot of things that satisfy my need for creative expression. I could sit down and work on something for an hour or four and feel content with myself. I cleaned my house every Saturday morning. I planted flowers and occasionally a tomato or a pepper. What has happened to me? My natural sloth has taken over, my free time filled by surfing around on the internet, looking at pictures of other people’s parties and food on Facebook, and playing Angry Birds and Words With Friends. My art supplies are right here next to me, and my fabric is sitting in bins in the closet.
That’s why I took a little sabbatical from Facebook. I had to just stop and look around a little. Detach from that net that sucks me in so easily. I will admit to peeking a little at who was doing what, but I refrained from posting or commenting on anything for about three weeks. I enjoyed that, really. It gave me a chance to distance myself from it all. I go there again now, but not as much or as often. I realize now that I will probably not leave Facebook for good, as I appreciate the opportunity to connect with people who I would otherwise miss, as well as the links to interesting information and ideas that people post. However, for me it seems like a good idea to take off a week or so a month, just to retain the balance I need between all areas of my life. Like cleaning my house and watching an occasional sunset. Maybe even writing a little bit, or taking a few photos. My word for the year is “Balance.” Maybe I should say, “Creating balance,” because it’s exercising my creativity that keeps me on an even keel. I like that.
What about you? What keeps you on balance?